Friday, February 10, 2006


Today is better, which is what a good run can do for me. Well, a bit more than a good run, but the good run was the major part of it. First of all I saw movement in the scales, down to 167. Eleven stone thirteen pounds, finally breaking through that twelve stone mark. I'll take it because Monday's weight (my normal weigh in day) is not likely to be particularly accurate with the weekend and a late drive back from the airport on Sunday night to contend with. I'd already earmarked today's weight to be an official one, so official it shall be. I finally get some ticker movement!

Then, the run. This week I've been building up to today's "10k race" on the schedule. Of course, there aren't many races on a Friday at 7am, so I contented myself with psyching myself up to go as fast as I could on the treadmill and treating it as a race. No second chances. No wimping out after 6 or 7k to leave it for another day, and no excuses. Pushing myself a bit harder too, rather than just a training run. This week I've been building up to it with a couple of other 10ks to get my miles for the week done and allow myself the weekend off. My previous best before this week was just under 59 minutes, and on Monday it went down to nearer 58, then on Tuesday to just over 57. I had a number in mind for today, a target. I wanted to get under 55 minutes for the first time, knocking a whopping 4 minutes off in the space of a week. The number felt achievable, if I pushed myself, based on my 4 - 5 mile times and the relative ease with which I'd got down to 58 and 57. So I went for it, and I did it. In 54:44.

I started off too fast, but reined myself back in after about 20 minutes because I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that pace for much over 35 minutes. Once I'd recovered a bit I started pushing the pace back up a bit to make sure I hit that sub-55 minute target. I got myself through the last few km by telling myself that if I broke 55 I wouldn't run at all over the weekend, but if I slowed down and missed it I'd pack my running stuff and make myself plod round Perpignan for 40 minutes or so on Sunday morning. By this point I knew I'd make the time if I just kept going at a steady pace, so it was a case of hanging in there. The prospect of a lie in was all it took to keep me going to the end without slowing down and missing the mark!

The one thing I noticed was how much more focussed I was than normal. When I'm doing slower runs I look around, take in what other people are doing, watch people doing weights and ab exercises to get ideas of things I could add to my routine, check whether I'm running faster or further than people on other treadmills, that sort of thing. Today I was absolutely focussed on the run and barely noticed a thing outside my little treadmill tunnel vision thing. The level of concentration really took me by surprise. I wasn't counting down the minutes until I finished or looking what people were wearing or watching myself in the mirror, I was concentrating on maintaining my speed, pushing it up a bit, keeping going as hard as I could. All of which would explain why I got under that 55 minute mark.

That brightened my mood significantly, then as I was stretching afterwards I caught sight of myself in the mirror and saw something I'd never really seen before. I saw my body as it actually is, not as I think it is. When I look down at myself, the first thing that catches my eye is my stomach. 5 or 10lb ago I didn't have a loose skin problem, now I'm starting to develop one. The skin has probably shrunk as much as it can, and is now getting to the stage where it looks a bit saggy. While I don't think that it will end up too bad compared to other people, I'm definitely starting to realise that it's never going to be taut or toned without surgery that I can't afford. That clouds my view of the rest of my body. But as I saw myself in the mirror for once I didn't have my hang ups clouding my view, and I saw myself clearly. Maybe it's a side-effect of the concentration from the run. I'd blocked all my negative thoughts out of my head in order to run faster, and I caught myself by surprise before they had the opportunity to force their way back in. I am thinner than I realised. A lot thinner. I know I've not suddenly become that much thinner overnight, but I seem to have let myself see it for a change. One way to put a smile back on my face!

So, now for 2 consecutive days of planned rest. I'm not going to exercise (other than walking) and I'm not going to feel guilty about it. I've deliberately moved my runs around this week to let myself have the time off, so there's no reason to feel like I should be doing something. There's a strong chance I might eat French cakes or drink a little red wine. Or maybe have churros or merguez or cassoulet or gauffres or crepes. Actually, that might be and rather than or. I'm actually drooling writing this. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, and I'm not going to worry. I won't binge, but equally I won't deprive myself of fresh local specialities that always taste better when you're away than at home. I've earned it.


Blogger Zara said...

Wow, you have earned it. Under 55min? Fantastic!

And I'm glad your mind let you really "see" your body today for the better. That's always a nice feeling!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Shauna said...

you are doing so freaking well, woohoo! what an excellent time. inspiring as always :)

have a great weekend...

10:12 PM  
Blogger Vicky said...

Excellent! Glad you're feeling more upbeat, have fun!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Living to Feel Good said...

You've inspired me. :)

5:39 AM  
Blogger K said...

Woohoo! That is astonishingly fast...

I know what you mean about things clouding your view of your body - my upper arms do that for me (everything else is improving: why won't they?) But I think you just have to remember that nobody else looks airbrush-perfect under their clothes either. However, since it's under their clothes, it's their secret. There is no such thing as a "perfect" body.

I'm glad you're feeling more upbeat - long may this continue. And have a great time in Perpignan.

10:50 AM  
Blogger VTH said...

Very inspiring as always! Good for you for not giving into the blues and pushing through. Life's about those ups and downs.

Hope you had a great time in Perpignan!

7:00 PM  

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